May 11, 2018

Staling the Staff of Life

Timothy Birdnow

Anyone else notice how quickly bread gets stale these days? You can barely get it home before it becomes dry and falls apart. I would blame my dear wife for it, but it happens to me as much as to the saintly Mrs. Birdnow, and long ago I was a bread truck driver and know how to pick a fresh loaf from the shelves. This problem started during the Obama era, I might add, so I know it stems from some sort of regulation imposed by the Obama FDA. I decided to find out what it is. Bread is a very short-lived commodity. In the old days people bought a small loaf (or baked one themselves) every day because it was shot by the next morning. Sometimes the stale bread could be used for something, as bread crumbs, say, to stuff a pheasant or whatnot, or as the Egyptians did, it was used to make beer, but most of the time it had to simply be tossed away or used to slop the hogs. Staleness has always been a big problem with bread.

In our modern post-industrial society that is a bigger problem still; bread has to last from the bakery, which may be in another state, to the table. It has to be shipped in unrefrigerated trucks to warehouses, then in unrefrigerated trucks to supermarkets. It gets HOT in those trucks in summer, and COLD in the winter. The bread has to be able to take this punishment, which means it has to have preservatives. Preservatives are what make the modern bounty of food in America possible.

So what is it that has changed since the Obama took office that would explain the staleness in bread? I suspect it is what is called DATEM, or Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides.

Obama's FDA went to war with transfats. The claim is that transfats cause diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other bad things. (Funny; people in my great grandparents time at this stuff all the time with no ill effects.) So the BHO's FDA phased out transfats, with the deadline being, drumroll please, 2018. And DATEM are a trans fat.

It should be pointed out that partially saturated trans fats were promoted by the government as the answer to the use of saturated fats. As usual, the government gifeth and the government taketh away.

The phase out is why movie theatres are using canola oil for popcorn. They used to use coconut oil, and theatre popcorn was a true treat. No more; it tastes just like what you can make at home. They have robbed us of one of life's true pleasures.

But DATEM are still allowed in foods, so at least SOME partially saturated fats are permitted. But I rather suspect the ban on these trans fats is at least partly to blame.

I don't know; it seems this problem metastasized in the last year or so, and I suspect I'm missing something. Anyone have any ideas?

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:17 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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